[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 55 (Friday, March 21, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 15694-15697]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-06239]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

National Park Service

36 CFR Part 7

[NPS-LAMR-15022; PPIMLAMRS0, PPMPSPD1Z.YM0000]
RIN 1024-AE12


Special Regulations, Areas of the National Park System, Lake 
Meredith National Recreation Area, Bicycling

AGENCY: National Park Service, Interior.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: Through the preparation of a Multi-Use Trail Environmental 
Assessment, the National Park Service has decided to construct an 
unpaved, multi-use recreational trail in Lake Meredith National 
Recreation Area. The multi-use trail will be approximately 22 miles in 
length and be open to pedestrian and bicycle use only. National Park 
Service regulations require promulgation of a special regulation to 
designate new routes for bicycle use off park roads and outside 
developed areas. The multi-use trail will consist of five contiguous 
sections constructed in five phases, as resources become available. 
This multi-use trail will help address the lack of land-based 
recreational opportunities in the region; increase the availability of 
interpretive resources in the recreation area; provide a firebreak at 
the urban-wildland interface; and improve access for emergency response 
personnel.

DATES: The rule is effective April 21, 2014.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Arlene Wimer, Chief of Resource 
Management, Lake Meredith National Recreation Area, at 806-857-0309 or 
at the address listed in the ADDRESSES section.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    Congress established Lake Meredith National Recreation Area (LAMR 
or recreation area) in 1990 ``to provide for public outdoor recreation 
use and enjoyment of the lands and waters associated with Lake Meredith 
in the State of Texas, and to protect the scenic, scientific, cultural, 
and other values contributing to the public enjoyment of such lands and 
waters. . . .'' Situated approximately 35 miles north of Amarillo, 
Texas within Potter, Moore, Hutchinson, and Carson counties, LAMR is 
approximately 45,000 acres in size and is the largest public landmass 
in the Texas Panhandle.

[[Page 15695]]

Purpose of Multi-Use Trail

Recreational Opportunities

    LAMR provides water-based public recreational opportunities such as 
fishing, boating, water skiing, and swimming. However, dropping water 
levels have caused a substantial loss of public access to the lake and 
a corresponding reduction in water-based recreational opportunities. 
Visitation to the recreation area has declined over the last 10 years, 
and lower water levels and reduced access could be a contributing 
factor to this decline in use. Water levels are not expected to 
increase in the near future, and the addition of a multi-use trail 
could provide visitors with an alternative, land-based form of 
recreation which may attract more visitors to LAMR.
    LAMR provides some land-based recreational opportunities, such as 
hiking, horseback riding, hunting, off-road vehicle use, and camping. 
Over the past several years, bicycling has become more popular in the 
Texas Panhandle, as evidenced by increased bike use at nearby Palo Duro 
Canyon State Park. A multi-use trail at LAMR will help address the 
increasing demand for bike trails in the Texas Panhandle. The multi-use 
trail will also provide additional hiking opportunities on the trail, 
and primitive camping opportunities in Turkey Creek Canyon.

Interpretive Resources

    LAMR contains natural and cultural resources that are unique to the 
region. The natural and geologic resources of the recreation area have 
enabled human survival, subsistence, and adaptation that have resulted 
in a continuum of human presence in the area for more than 13,000 
years. Cultural sites in LAMR and the adjacent Alibates Flint Quarries 
National Monument offer views of lifeways in cultural periods from the 
Paleo Indians (9,500 BC-6,000 BC) to the present day. The exposed 
geologic features on the walls of the Canadian River valley (i.e. the 
``breaks'') reveal active geologic processes that are easily visible to 
an extent not present elsewhere in the region. The topography and 
geography of the Canadian River breaks create a divergence from the 
surrounding landscape that offers scenic values and opportunities not 
found elsewhere in the region.
    Despite these extraordinary resources, LAMR lacks interpretive 
facilities to allow visitors to fully understand and appreciate them. 
The multi-use trail will allow visitors to experience additional areas 
of the recreation area that visitors cannot currently access, while 
educating and promoting stewardship for LAMR's natural and cultural 
resources. Kiosks will be installed at the two trail heads located at 
Harbor Bay, providing visitors with trail rules, maps, advisories, 
closures, and safety precautions. Interpretive signage and trail 
markers will be primitive and placed at appropriate locations along the 
trail to provide information on cultural and natural resources and to 
ensure visitors remain on trails and do not get lost or damage 
recreation area resources.

Wildfires and Public Safety

    Wildfires pose a substantial threat to public safety in and around 
LAMR. The elimination of grazing operations in the recreation area and 
periods of prolonged drought have increased the potential for 
catastrophic wildfire events. The number and location of roads and 
trails in the recreation area are limited, and as such, firefighting 
crews have difficulty accessing certain areas of the recreation area. 
The multi-use trail will serve as a firebreak and will provide 
firefighting crews additional access to previously inaccessible areas 
in the event of a wildfire. Construction of the trail will also provide 
emergency service access to hard to reach areas of the recreation area, 
reducing response times for emergency and rescue teams and improving 
visitor safety.

Environmental Assessment

    In January 2010, LAMR published the Multi-Use Trail Environmental 
Assessment (EA). The EA evaluated two alternatives. Under the no action 
alternative (Alternative A), the multi-use trail would not be 
constructed. Under the action alternative (Alternative B), the multi-
use trail would be constructed. On January 17, 2012, the National Park 
Service (NPS) signed a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) which 
identified Alternative B as the selected action and concluded that 
constructing the multi-use trail will not have a significant effect on 
the human environment. Under Alternative B, LAMR will construct the 
multi-use trail in five phases totaling approximately 22 miles. Phase 
One will be located in the Harbor Bay and Fritch Canyon area; Phase Two 
will be between Harbor Bay and Short Creek; Phase Three will be located 
between Short Creek and South Turkey Creek; Phase Four will start at 
the mouth of South Turkey Creek and continue up the canyon; and Phase 
Five will be located between Fritch Fortress and the northern portion 
of phase one. Construction of each phase will occur as funding becomes 
available. To date, the park has constructed 5.5 miles of trail and 
plans to complete an additional 14 miles in 2014.
    The EA and FONSI, which contain a full description of the purpose 
and need for taking action, the alternatives considered, public 
comments on the alternatives, maps of the multi-use trail, and the 
environmental impacts associated with the project, may be viewed on the 
recreation area's planning Web site at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/lamr, by clicking on the link entitled ``Archived Projects'' and then 
clicking the link entitled ``Lake Meredith Recreation Area Multi-Use 
Trail'' and then clicking on the link entitled ``Document List.''

Final Rule

    This rule complies with the general requirement of 36 CFR 4.30, 
which requires a special regulation to designate new bicycle routes off 
park roads and outside of developed areas. This rule adds a new 
paragraph (h) to the special regulations for LAMR (36 CFR 7.57), 
authorizing designation of the 22-mile-long multi-use trail as a route 
for bicycle use. This rule also authorizes the Superintendent to impose 
closures or restrictions for bicycle use on designated routes after 
taking into consideration public health and safety, resource 
protection, and other management activities and objectives, provided 
public notice is given under 36 CFR 1.7.

Changes From the Proposed Rule

    The NPS received only one public comment on the proposed rule, 
which supported the designation of the multi-use trail. There are no 
substantive changes in the final rule, although a typographical error 
was fixed.

Compliance With Other Laws, Executive Orders and Department Policy

Regulatory Planning and Review (Executive Orders 12866 and 13563)

    Executive Order 12866 provides that the Office of Information and 
Regulatory Affairs in the Office of Management and Budget will review 
all significant rules. The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs 
has determined that this rule is not significant.
    Executive Order 13563 reaffirms the principles of Executive Order 
12866 while calling for improvements in the nation's regulatory system 
to promote predictability, to reduce uncertainty, and to use the best, 
most innovative, and least burdensome tools for achieving regulatory 
ends. The executive order directs agencies to consider regulatory 
approaches that

[[Page 15696]]

reduce burdens and maintain flexibility and freedom of choice for the 
public where these approaches are relevant, feasible, and consistent 
with regulatory objectives. Executive Order 13563 emphasizes further 
that regulations must be based on the best available science and that 
the rulemaking process must allow for public participation and an open 
exchange of ideas. We have developed this rule in a manner consistent 
with these requirements.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    This rule will not have a significant economic effect on a 
substantial number of small entities under the Regulatory Flexibility 
Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.). This certification is based on information 
contained in the economic analyses found in the report entitled ``Cost-
Benefit and Regulatory Flexibility Analyses: Proposed Regulations for 
Trail Management in Lake Meredith Recreation Area'' which is available 
online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/lamr by clicking on the link 
entitled ``Archived Projects'' and then clicking the link entitled 
``Lake Meredith Recreation Area Multi-Use Trail'' and then clicking on 
the link entitled ``Document List.''

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

    This rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804(2), the Small 
Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act. This rule:
    (a) Does not have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million 
or more.
    (b) Will not cause a major increase in costs or prices for 
consumers, individual industries, Federal, State, or local government 
agencies, or geographic regions.
    (c) Does not have significant adverse effects on competition, 
employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the ability of 
U.S.-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    This rule does not impose an unfunded mandate on State, local, or 
tribal governments or the private sector of more than $100 million per 
year. The rule does not have a significant or unique effect on State, 
local or tribal governments or the private sector. It addresses public 
use of national park lands, and imposes no requirements on other 
agencies or governments. A statement containing the information 
required by the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) is 
not required.

Takings (Executive Order 12630)

    This rule does not affect a taking of private property or otherwise 
have takings implications under Executive Order 12630. A takings 
implication assessment is not required.

Federalism (Executive Order 13132)

    Under the criteria in section 1 of Executive Order 13132, the rule 
does not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant the 
preparation of a Federalism summary impact statement. This rule only 
affects use of NPS administered lands and waters. It has no outside 
effects on other areas. A Federalism summary impact statement is not 
required.

Civil Justice Reform (Executive Order 12988)

    This rule complies with the requirements of Executive Order 12988. 
This rule:
    (a) Meets the criteria of section 3(a) requiring that all 
regulations be reviewed to eliminate errors and ambiguity and be 
written to minimize litigation; and
    (b) Meets the criteria of section 3(b)(2) requiring that all 
regulations be written in clear language and contain clear legal 
standards.

Consultation With Indian Tribes (Executive Order 13175 and Department 
Policy)

    The Department of the Interior strives to strengthen its 
government-to-government relationship with Indian Tribes through a 
commitment to consultation with Indian Tribes and recognition of their 
right to self-governance and tribal sovereignty. We have evaluated this 
rule under the Department's consultation policy and under the criteria 
in Executive Order 13175 and have determined that it has no substantial 
direct effects on federally recognized Indian tribes and that 
consultation under the Department's tribal consultation policy is not 
required. During the EA process, NPS consulted with the 10 Native 
American groups associated with LAMR and determined that there are no 
potential effects.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This rule does not contain information collection requirements, and 
a submission to the Office of Management and Budget under the Paperwork 
Reduction Act is not required. We may not conduct or sponsor and you 
are not required to respond to a collection of information unless it 
displays a currently valid OMB control number.

National Environmental Policy Act

    We prepared the EA to determine whether this rule will have a 
significant impact on the quality of the human environment under the 
National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. This rule does not 
constitute a major Federal action significantly affecting the quality 
of the human environment. A detailed statement under the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969 is not required because we reached a 
FONSI. A copy of the EA and FONSI can be found online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/lamr by clicking on the link entitled ``Archived 
Projects'' and then clicking the link entitled ``Lake Meredith 
Recreation Area Multi-Use Trail'' and then clicking on the link 
entitled ``Document List,'' or may be obtained by contacting: 
Superintendent, Lake Meredith National Recreation Area, P.O. Box 1460, 
Fritch, TX 79036.

Effects on the Energy Supply (Executive Order 13211)

    This rule is not a significant energy action under the definition 
in Executive Order 13211. A Statement of Energy Effects in not 
required.
    Drafting Information: The primary authors of this regulation are 
Arlene Wimer, Chief of Resources, Lake Meredith National Recreation 
Area; Cheryl Eckhardt, Environmental Quality Specialist, National Park 
Service Intermountain Region; and Jay P. Calhoun, Regulations Program 
Specialist, National Park Service.

List of Subjects in 36 CFR Part 7

    National parks, Reporting and Recordkeeping requirements.
    In consideration of the foregoing, the National Park Service amends 
36 CFR part 7 as set forth below:

PART 7--SPECIAL REGULATIONS, AREAS OF THE NATIONAL PARK SYSTEM

0
1. The authority citation for part 7 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1, 3, 9a, 462(k); Sec. 7.96 also issued 
under 36 U.S.C. 501-511, D.C. Code 10-137 (2001) and D.C. Code 50-
2201 (2001).


0
2. In Sec.  7.57 add paragraph (h) to read as follows:


Sec.  7.57  Lake Meredith National Recreation Area.

* * * * *
    (h) Bicycling. (1) The Superintendent may designate for bicycle use 
routes or portions of routes in the following sections of the park's 
multi-use recreational trail:

[[Page 15697]]

    (i) Harbor Bay-Fritch Canyon area (approximately 5.7 miles);
    (ii) Harbor Bay Short-Creek area (approximately 3.3 miles);
    (iii) Short Creek-South Turkey Creek area (approximately 2.8 
miles);
    (iv) South Turkey Creek area (approximately 4.4 miles); and
    (v) Fritch Fortress area (approximately 5.2 miles).
    (2) Designation of bicycle routes or portions of routes shall be 
implemented with a written determination that the route is open for 
public use and that such bicycle use is consistent with the protection 
of the park area's natural, scenic and aesthetic values, safety 
considerations and management objectives, and will not disturb wildlife 
or park resources. Notice may be provided by posting signs and 
identifying routes on maps which shall be available in the office of 
the Superintendent and on the park's Web site.
    (3) The Superintendent may open or close designated bicycle routes, 
or portions thereof, or impose conditions or restrictions for bicycle 
use after taking into consideration public health and safety, natural 
and cultural resource protection, carrying capacity, and other 
management activities and objectives.
    (i) The Superintendent will provide public notice of all such 
actions through one or more of the methods listed in Sec.  1.7 of this 
chapter.
    (ii) Violating a closure, condition, or restriction is prohibited.

    Dated: March 11, 2014.
Michael Bean,
Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and 
Parks.
[FR Doc. 2014-06239 Filed 3-20-14; 8:45 am]
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